Houdini Piloting His Voisin Biplane [In Australia]
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Houdini Piloting His Voisin Biplane [In Australia]

1910. Vintage silver gelatin photograph, postcard format, autographed “Best wishes, Harry Houdini” and dated “4/1/11 [April 1st]” in ink on right side of image, caption and erroneous date “March 15th” in negative lower right, 9.1 x 11.7cm. Trimmed edges, minor scuffing, paper remnants and old glue stains verso.

Caption continues “The first successful aviator in Australia. Wins the Australian Aero League’s trophy, March 15th, 1910. Melbourne, Australia.”

In 1909 Houdini purchased a French Voisin biplane, which he brought with him on his 1910 tour of Australia with the aim of achieving the first flight in Australia. At 8am on Friday, 18 March, 1910, Houdini “flew a full circle of the paddock… at Diggers Rest, Victoria, before landing less than a minute later. Two further flights followed on the same day lasting up to 3¼ minutes in duration and reaching a height of 30 metres.” According to Kenneth Silverman, biographer of Houdini, the plane was subsequently put into storage in England and Houdini never flew again. It was not until 1938, in an article in Aircraft magazine by Harry Cobby, a WWI aviator, that Houdini's record was disputed: “the first aeroplane flight in the Southern Hemisphere was made in 1909 by Mr Colin Defries, a Londoner, at Victoria Park Racecourse, Sydney, in a Wilbur Wright aeroplane.” Ref: Museums Victoria; MAAS; Wiki.

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Item #CL187-94

Price (AUD): $5,950.00  other currencies

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